Friday night's game vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers could become even more of a trap game for the Wizards, who will play against Kyrie Irving but not Luol Deng. The All-Star point guard wasn't at shootaround this morning at Verizon Center and was a game-time decision, but he is playing. Deng, recently acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, was held out because of illness.
The Cavs have been just 5-10 with Deng since the deal. C.J. Miles is starting in his place.
Of course, Wizards coach Randy Wittman will insist that it's about playing system defense so the opponent doesn't matter as much. Irving torched the Wizards (24-24) the last time he was here to tie a career high with 41 points. The Cavs (16-33) erased a 15-point lead on Nov. 16 in that 103-96 overtime win here.
A players-only meeting by Trevor Ariza ensued as the Wizards had opened the season by losing seven of their first nine games. Then they responded by winning seven of nine to get to .500 for the first time.
The Wizards aren't interested in going back to that time. If they've truly made the progress they believe that they have, Friday's game should be nothing short of a mismatch.
The Cavs are on a six-game losing streak and coach Mike Brown is reeling after the firing of GM Chris Grant, a close friend who was a college teammate, on Thursday.